Saturday night’s UFC card sees the return of Brian Ortega after nearly two years of absence, although his fight is anything but an easy welcome back, as he fights Chan Sung Jung, also known as “The Korean Zombie.”
Here’s a preview of the 11-fight card which is scheduled to happen at “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 12:00AM GST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 1: Said Nurmagomedov (13-2) vs. Mark Striegl (18-2) (Bantamweight)
UFC’s preliminary card will start earlier than usual, with a start time scheduled for 4:00PM EDT. The timeslot is an hour earlier than normal for “Fight Night” cards.
Kicking off the preliminary card is a bantamweight bout between Said Nurmagomedov and Mark Striegl. The fight will be Nurmagomedov’s fourth in the UFC. After two wins in the promotion, Nurmagomedov took his first UFC loss to Raoni Barcelos last December.
Striegl will make his UFC debut after a series of wins on the regional scene. He claimed the URCC Featherweight Championship in 2018 after defeating Do Gyeom Lee. His first defence of the belt didn’t go as planned, as a low blow took Shunichi Shimizu out of the fight in the second round in April of 2019.
Bout 2: Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-7) vs. Maxim Grishin (30-8-2) (Light Heavyweight)
Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Maxim Grishin will both look to come back from losses on the prelims. Grishin made his UFC debut in July, losing a decision to Marcin Tybura at UFC 251. The fight was at heavyweight despite Grishin usually being a light heavyweight. He moves back down for this fight.
Antigulov heads into the fight in an important position, looking to snap a three-fight streak of losses. Paul Craig gave Antigulov his third-straight first-round finish loss in July.
Bout 3: Fares Ziam (10-3) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (12-3) (Lightweight)
Both aiming to get their first win in the UFC, Fares Ziam and Jamie Mullarkey will fight on the prelims. Mullarkey lost his UFC debut in October of 2019, dropping a decision to Brad Riddell.
Ziam’s debut was a month before, losing to Don Madge at UFC 242.
Bout 4: Jun Yong Park (11-4) vs. John Phillips (22-10) (Middleweight)
Jun Yong Park will return on Saturday when he fights John Phillips. Park earned his first UFC win in December, defeating Marc-Andre Barriault via decision in Busan, South Korea.
Phillips last fought in July, fighting Khamzat Chimaev after a fight against Dusko Todorovic fell through. The near star-making performance for Chimaev saw Phillips get submitted in the second round.
The previous fight for Phillips was his first win in the UFC, stopping Alen Amedovski in 14 seconds with punches.
Bout 5: Gillian Robertson (8-4) vs. Poliana Botelho (8-2) (Flyweight)
Looking to ride the momentum of their previous outings, Gillian Robertson and Poliana Botelho will fight on Saturday’s prelims. Robertson returned to the win column in June, catching Cortney Casey in the third round with a rear naked choke.
Botelho’s last win goes farther back, as she last competed in April of 2019, defeating Lauren Mueller at UFC 236.
Bout 6: Mateusz Gamrot (17-0) vs. Guram Kutateladze (11-2) (Lightweight)
Former KSW Lightweight Champion Mateusz Gamrot will make his UFC debut on Saturday, facing Guram Kutateladze to close out the preliminary card. Gamrot has been undefeated through 17 fights as a pro.
Gamrot became a champion in KSW in 2016, defeating Mansour Barnaoui to claim the belt. He has since defended it six times, including twice in the past four months.
Kutateladze is a short-notice opponent for the fight replacing Magomed Mustafaev. The Georgian fighter will put his eight-fight streak of wins on the line.
Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 3:00AM GST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 7: Thomas Almeida (22-3) vs. Jonathan Martinez (12-3) (Featherweight)
Thomas Almeida will make his return to action on the main card when he fights Jonathan Martinez. Almeida has competed eight times in the UFC before, although his last fight dates back to January of 2018. The dated yet still relevant two-fight skid of his could possibly be stopped on Saturday.
Martinez returns after a win last August against Frankie Saenz.
Bout 8: Claudio Silva (14-1) vs. James Krause (27-8) (Welterweight)
Claudio Silva will put a 14-fight streak on the line on Saturday when he fights James Krause. Silva’s streak dates well back before his 2014 UFC debut. He has defeated five fighters within the promotion, with his most recent being a first-round finish to cole Williams in August of 2019.
Krause returns after a streak of four wins was broken in February by Trevin Giles at UFC 247 via split decision.
Bout 9: Modestas Bukauskas (11-2) vs. Jimmy Crute (11-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Former Cage Warriors Light Heavyweight Champion Modestas Bukauskas will fight again in the UFC on Saturday, being paired with Jimmy Crute.
Bukauskas made his UFC debut in July, defeating Andreas Michailidis, hurting him late in the first round with elbows to cause a stoppage in-between rounds. He has won his last seven fights all via stoppage.
Crute returned to the win column in his last fight, catching Michal Oleksijczuk in the first round with a kimura.
Bout 10: Jessica Andrade (20-8) vs. Katlyn Chookagian (14-3) (Flyweight)
After losing a “Fight of the Night” title eliminator to Rose Namajunas in July, Jessica Andrade, the former UFC Strawweight Champion, finds herself a weight class above and matched with Katlyn Chookagian.
Chookagian lost a flyweight title shot in February, being stopped in the third round by strikes from Valentina Shevchenko. She rebounded in May, defeating Antonina Shevchenko via decision after a dominating three rounds.
Bout 11: Brian Ortega (14-1) vs. The Korean Zombie (16-5) (Featherweight)
Nearly two years after his war against Max Holloway at UFC 231, Brian Ortega has still yet to enter the UFC cage again. That will end in the main event on Saturday, and against a very tough return fight, as he will fight Chan Sung Jung AKA “The Korean Zombie.”
Ortega’s last fight, a December 8th performance against Holloway, was his first loss as a pro. He had previously racked up six-straight UFC wins via stoppage prior to the UFC Featherweight Championship bout.
Zombie looks to continue his hot streak of victories with a headlining win. His last fight was in December, stopping short-notice opponent Frankie Edgar in the first round with strikes.
Prior to then he had a win in June of 2019, stopping Renato Moicano in under a minute with strikes.
Zombie’s first fight back from mandatory South Korean military service was in 2017, defeating Dennis Bermudez.
His sole loss since his return in 2017 was against Yair Rodriguez in 2018. The fight was a close one that ended in buzzer-beating fashion, as Rodriguez landed an upward elbow in the second-last moment that knocked Zombie out cold.